The contribution of the amygdala to aversive and appetitive pavlovian processes

Justin M. Moscarello, Joseph E. Ledoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pavlovian cues predict the occurrence of motivationally salient outcomes, thus serving as an important trigger of approach and avoidance behavior. The amygdala is a key substrate of Pavlovian conditioning, and the nature of its contribution varies by the motivational valence of unconditioned stimuli. The literature on aversive Pavlovian learning supports a serial-processing model of amygdalar function, while appetitive studies suggest that Pavlovian associations are processed through parallel circuits in the amygdala. It is proposed that serial and parallel forms of information processing can be attributed to differential recruitment of amygdalar nuclei, with emphasis placed on the lateral amygdala.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-253
Number of pages6
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Pavlovian conditioning
  • amygdala
  • appetitive
  • aversive
  • motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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